Florence, November 28, 2002
Mr. Ian Goode
Head of Defence Records 1
3-5 Great Scotland Yard
London SW1 2HW
Mr. Tony Lonn
Departmental Records Officer
c/o Defence Records 2
Middlesex UB3 1RF
The Italian Association for the Study of Contemporary Society (SISSCO), of which I am President, represents a large number of teachers and researchers of modern and contemporary history working in Italian universities. It also includes a considerable number of British academics among its membership.
On behalf of SISSCO I would like to request that documents regarding the British military and intelligence organisations dealing with Italy be made available for public consultation for the years down to 1971.
Above all I would ask if access could be granted to the material relating to the information and reports of the Military Attaches in the British embassies in Rome, Washington and Paris, and more generally of the intelligence services: the Directorate of Military Intelligence, the Army Counter Intelligence Service, and the Foreign Counter-Intelligence Organisations, among others.
Without access to these archives, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to conduct historical research into Italian national security and into the role played by intelligence in shaping the country’s foreign, defence and economic policies.
Currently access to these important sources in the Public Record Office is restricted – de facto if not de iure – to the immediate post-war years (mainly 1945-6). It would be highly desirable if – in conformity with the thirty year rule that pertains to other archive material – access were to be accorded down to 1971.
I would also request that material relating to Russian Activities in Italy be made available. This is of special interest for the study of the phenomenon of communism.
I hope very much that you will feel able not only to consider but also to grant these requests.
On behalf of my 380 colleagues in SISSCO, I would like to thank you very much indeed for your time and attention.
Prof. Raffaele Romanelli European University Institute President of SISSCO